Retrofitting an Old School Ugly School Building for OELVN (aka EVN) use – Part 01 (maybe)

March 17, 2013

Note: Un-Rendered Screenshots saved directly from Trimble Sketchup

NaNoRenO?… Nope, I’m not gonna discuss NaNoRenO projects for today. Instead, I’ll talk about that old sketchup building I released a while ago.


Newly retrofitted school building viewed from the gym front entrance.

Long story short, a few weeks ago I released a sketchup model of a whole school building complete with furnishings  under creative commons HERE for use with OELVN BG creation. While it does serve it’s purpose I’ve been receiving a few (actually just 2) emails that it looked kinda brutal and old. As if the building was build during the 70’s and wasn’t maintained properly. I took a second look and yes indeed, it looked horrible which is perfect for horror stories but awful setting for a lovey-dovey moe-moe school love story.


The school Building before major retrofitting.

The building is in awful shape and will probably receive a very dismal ENERGY STAR rating of 15 or even lower. Normally, I don’t mix work with OELVN activities and I go to great lengths to ensure the two are separate but this chance is just too perfect. What this building needed is a Retrofit. And to make things more fun and interesting (at least for me), I’ll treat this as if it’s for an actual client with a tight budget which I’m not gonna disclose.


The School Building viewed from the nearby School Gym.

Let’s start with the exterior. The look of the building affects the mood of the people working in it. So we decided to clad the whole building with Dryvit. We use a vibrant light yellow cream color which is very pleasant in the eyes. For the awning, we decided to use Dryvit Custom Brick to accentuate and highlight them choosing a red orange brick color to provide high contrast with the wallcladding while at the same time blend together since they belong roughly in the same part of the spectrum.


For the gaps between windows, I could rely on Tremco to seal the gaps that can be saved and a combination of Dryvit  AQUAFLASH and BACKSTOP NT for places where windows that needed to be gutted and replaced. The Outside part of the lobby will have an artificial brick floor for no apparent reason other than it looks good. Also, adding plants in windows will add value to property in who knows what ways but I’m still gonna say it because it usually convinces otherwise skeptical clients. The roof is a different monster altogether and will be a very VERY long thing to discus so let’s skip it and say we just power-hosed and scrubbed the whole roof, cleared the drainage of debris, use the cheapest branded sealant to cover potential problem spots while trying to control budget and installed a ring of large drainage pipes along the roof to prevent rainwater accumulation. For aesthetic purposes, we added a few semi transparent roof structures supported attached to guywire’s which doesn’t really bear any load but is rather there to make things look interesting. We also removed a few dated looking fire exits and replaced them with bulky sturdy looking and wider modern ones.

All in all, if this was a real project it will take about 120 working days and about 50 people working on 8 hour shifts while the building is still on half-use. Probably even go as low as 60 days if the building is fully vacated. So that’s all for the exterior but what about the interior?

The building structure remains intact so the only thing we can do is make the interior look interesting. Let’s start with the classroom.


By adding more furniture, you make the classroom look like it was indeed being there for a purpose. We also replaced the previous large ventilation shafts with smaller sleeker ones. The chairs and tables are also replaced with newer models, they now have more than double the pixel of the previous one but still under a manageable 1500. We also added more whiteboards, blackboards and cork boards for who knows what.


But most importantly is the addition of the curtains. That’s right, curtains. I’ve been neglecting this one piece of classroom fixture for quite a while now. Adding the curtains made the classroom more homely and somewhat a place I’d like to hang out.


Oh and before we forgot, we also added a few nifty things like that sign thing in front of every room in the building.



We are also concerned about the safety of the students (and potential lawsuits) so we make sure we remind them to be careful in places that are accident prone.


But wait, did I mention the fact that every single door and window in the building is functional and can be opened and closed independently?


Here we have a 32 door locker cabinet for a class of 40 students.

And what kind of school doesn’t have a locker room for the student to put their things and hide their stash of weed. Same thing with the doors and windows. Each locker is a functioning locker. Unfortunately  I can;t say the same for electrical wiring. At this point I went into lazy mode and pretend some of the missing electrical connections are buried within the ceiling even though the base structure clearly doesn’t have provision for such things. Of course we can always drill a hole but removing everything all we will have left is floors and load bearing joists and columns/pillars but it might compromise structural integrity so we usually just snake them all over the place when retrofitting unless we are 100% certain we can mess with the structure without compromise.

Oh by the way, unlike the previous models I’m not sharing this one yet. I’m still in a pretty awful mood after that incident last week that I needed some time to get back my happy vibes. So for now, no free models from Uncle Mugen.

That’s all for now. (goes back to sulking)



  1. I may be misinterpreting the height of the artificial brick floor in https://studiomugenjohncel.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/school_building_new.jpg (without a character standing there it’s hard to say) but may I suggest: to me it looks like it would be a bit uncomfortable to always step up and down from it to enter the school itself – would you consider adding a second shallower, larger step so that it looks more easy to step up on? Additionally, if you don’t have it already, maybe it needs a disabled access platform?

    It looks really nice, congrats. 🙂 I hope whatever upset you will let you feel better soon!

    • Hmm… you are right on that one… Right now it was all about retrofitting the previous model to look good but the original model was built for speed and looks only without paying too much to accuracy. The steps themselves are currently 1 foot high. The ideal is 6 to 8 inches. Guess I’ll have to revise it later in part 2 of this post. Adding access to disabled was originally planned in the first building. This might be an interesting challenge though that means adding railings in the hallway, an elevator or even an additional wing to accommodate a gentle sloping ramp… That reminds me, I forgot fire alarm systems and sprinklers… Will take note of them and revise them.

      • Wow! You’re putting quite a bit of detail in it! Kudos for being so dedicated. 🙂

        Oh, I got a few days off at the end of March, so if you need help I should definitely have the time (and the freedom to not sleep at night) for your colouring work. 😉

  2. it’s looking really nice. how much will it cost me and can u pls give me the details

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